The Importance of Business-Education Relationships
Garden Spot High School’s GSPathways Career Programs
by Jill Hackman, Teacher/Jill Hackman, Teacher/Career Pathways Coordinator at Garden Spot High School.
Do you remember your senior year of high school? The excitement of senior prom, homecoming, and that dreaded question asked by your relatives, friends, and teachers, “What are you going to do after you graduate?” You probably answered the question sounding confident with a well-developed plan. But inside you were unsure if your plan was the right one for you.
At Garden Spot High School, we want all high school students to graduate confidently with a post-secondary career plan. This is achieved through a series of career exploration opportunities through business partnerships beginning in middle school. In 7th and 8th grade, students participate in Career Day and Junior Achievement Yes! day. These programs bring in business volunteers who introduce students to career opportunities in the 16 different career clusters. The volunteers share information about their career journeys and explain the skills needed to apply, acquire, and retain a career.
Next, in 9th and 10th grade, students are offered four personalized career experiences (two each school year). These personalized career experiences could include listening to a career speaker or going to a business for a tour or a job shadow. Finally, in 12th grade, students have several long-term career opportunities that they can participate in including Co-Op, Internship, CTC, Access Success, Work-Based Learning, or Dual Enrollment.
Our business partners and students have shared the value that these career opportunities have given them. Take Brooke for example. Brooke expressed interest in working in the medical industry in 9th grade. A year after graduating high school, Brooke applied for a job at Tel Hai Retirement Community. She wanted to work for Tel Hai because she remembered the tour that she took in 9th grade. She said she wouldn’t have known about this great employer if it wasn’t for her high school field trip.
Consider another success story. Tori had her senior internship at NovaCare Physical Therapy, and she was accepted to a PT program at The Indiana University of Pennsylvania. At the end of her high school internship, her mentor invited her to complete some of her required college clinical hours at their office during holiday breaks and she gave Tori a strong letter of recommendation.
Lastly, Meshak finished his senior year of high school in the Co-Op program where he got a job at MVE Group, Inc. as an electrician. At the same time, he started his first year in the state-approved electrical apprenticeship program through ABC Keystone. In May 2022, Meshak graduated from his ABC Keystone apprenticeship program as a master electrician. His employer raved about his growth, quality of work, and responsibility.
There are so many more stories like this to tell! Business-education partnerships benefit both students and businesses, a win-win. None of these opportunities would have been possible without the hundreds of volunteers and businesses that participate in our events and programs! Visit www.gspathways.org to learn more about the career programs at Garden Spot High School.
The Lancaster Chamber is proud to be celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year, alongside our business and education communities. In the month of August, our content theme will be focused on business-education partnerships – sharing stories of our businesses and education leaders contributing to a thriving workforce pipeline.